The Sugar Beat
While publicly complaining that current sugar policy is a relic of the past, lobbyists for multinational food conglomerates are curiously pushing a bill that would roll back sugar policy to 1985 while eliminating all changes made by Congress in 2008 to deal with modern-day market realities.
Specifically, a bill introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), and its House companion, would punish U.S. sugar farmers with unfavorable rates on the loans they repay with interest.
Worse yet, these 1985-era rates would apply downward market pressure to already low sugar prices and help Big Candy executives pocket bigger profits at the expense of farmers and consumers.
So how much have things evolved since 1985, the year Big Candy wants to sent sugar farmers back to? During that year:
Then again, not everything has changed so dramatically in the past three decades. In 1985, the raw sugar price that many farmers received was about 21 cents per pound, according to USDA data. The current price of raw sugar is about 21 cents per pound.
Considering that the cost of a candy bar has more than doubled since 1985, it is no wonder confectioners are enjoying bigger profit margins than major oil companies. And that’s saying something since a gallon of gas was just $1.05 in 1985.
So with profits climbing and ingredient costs staying low, why are food company executives so eager to punish sugar farmers? According to a new advertising campaign by the American Sugar Alliance, the answer is simple: Big Candy’s Greed.
That same ad campaign is urging lawmakers to “support current sugar policy – it works for America.”
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